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Smartphone Insurance – 7 Surprising Reasons Why You Need It

Have you purchased a new smartphone and are concerned about safety? Are you accident prone and know it’s just a matter of time until that screen cracks? If so, you need to save money with smartphone insurance.

Paying for phone insurance is not just an added expense. It safeguards you against life’s eventualities. Below, we give the must-know reasons as to why you need smartphone insurance.

1. It Is Cost-Effective

Everyone has experienced that moment when a phone slips through your fingers, and you wait for the thundering crack as it hits the floor. You may as well be throwing hundreds of dollars into the sewer. Not only is the money lost, but you also need to find the money for a replacement.

With device insurance, this does not have to be the case. After the expense of a brand-new mobile, many people do not want to take out insurance in a bid to reduce their costs. However, it is a false economy.

How often in a phone’s lifetime do you break it? Or even worse, how often have you lost a phone?

If never, then you are an organized person who may be able to do without it. But for anyone else, who has ever scratched, cracked, or lost a phone, then insurance pays for itself.

2. Cases Are Not Adequate Protection

How many times have you seen cracked phones in bulky cases? How often have you seen a phone with a screen protector that has not worked? This is because they actually add very little protection.

To get aftermarket phone products that have any chance of protecting your device, you need to spend an awful lot of money. Think about the physics of dropping a phone. Why would the shock and impact not travel through the case, unless it had a huge layer of cushioning and protection?

The same goes for a screen protector. Any minor pieces of grit and dust may be protected by a thin layer of plastic, but for any heavier or sharper objects then they will provide very little protection.

3. Phone Insurance Claims Should be Easy

Insurance companies have an unjustified reputation for being unwilling to pay out. Like any industry, there are a few bad apples that spoil the bunch. However, most insurance companies have excellent claims processes that are transparent and easy to use.

All an insurance company wants to know is that the claim is genuine. If you protect yourself by keeping accurate records, such as how the accident occurred or where phones went missing, then you should have no problems.

It is also easier than ever to file insurance claims due to technology. Call centers can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Sometimes, it can just be a matter of logging onto a website. With Fortress you have easy access to our Assist team who can help you with a claim on the phone, or in your user portal.

4. Replacements Are Expensive

Replacing a lost or broken smartphone is very expensive. You could be looking at close to $2000 for a top of the range model. This can be even higher if you are paying instalments with your provider.

If this is the case, then you could end up having to find the money for a brand-new phone while still paying off the old one. This is not a situation you want to be in.

Smartphone insurance will let you replace the phone, easily and quickly.

5. Repair Companies Can Be Unreliable

On every shopping street in every city, you will undoubtedly find a host of phone sales and repair shops. In fact, there really is no governing body that regulates these operations. Anyone could open up a repair shop tomorrow with little to no experience.

In addition, these repair companies have to source parts and equipment from somewhere. There is no guarantee the parts they repair your phone with are of high quality. Many of them could break or give up within a few weeks.

Add this to the fact that they are often very expensive. Small jobs and tasks that can take a matter of minutes end up costing a lot. Do you have the money to keep paying for repairs if you are accident prone with your device?

6. Smartphone Insurance Eases Your Mind

Smartphone insurance is worth the money just for the ease of mind it offers. After you have spent money on a new phone, you want to enjoy it. Do you really want to spend time worrying about dropping and breaking it?

If you go on holiday, you will want to take pictures and document the great time you are having. Do you want the hassle of hiding away from the pool, or tucking it away when you are on adventurous trips? Smartphone insurance lets you take your phone with you wherever you go, no matter how wild and wacky that place may be.

7. Accidents Are Inevitable

In truth, accidents are going to happen. It could be at home, dropping it into the bathtub, or at work in industrial environments. No one is perfect, and no phone is indestructible.

People insure their homes, cars, and other household items. Why wouldn’t you do that with a costly item like a phone?

Compare Phone Insurance Options

When looking for smartphone insurance, remember you do not have to go with insurance offered by your carrier. In fact, better deals will be out there. Shop around, comparing not just prices but other benefits that are offered. No two insurance options are the same, and it’s important to understand the differences. It’s not just about price, it’s about value.

You first stop should be Fortress. We offer insurance, security and assistance for cell phones with a range of options. Contact us today and safeguard your device, before it is too late.

5 Things To Do If Your Phone Has Gone Missing

Fortress was created because we understand how important phones have become. We also understand how big a challenge it can be when they your phone has gone missing. Our app and platform have been designed ground-up to protect you, your data, and your device.

However, we are also realistic. Phones are so crucial to everyday life, but that means they are with us all the time, and therefore there is always a risk that the worst happens.

In the US, 40 percent of thefts in major cities involve cell phones, with 1 in 10 smartphone owners having been a victim of phone theft.

So what do you do if your phone has gone missing? Whether it’s your old faithful 5-year-old Android or the very latest top-of-the-range iPhone, we would recommend keeping calm and following these simple steps.

Your Phone Has Gone Missing – What Next?

Step 1: Text It or Call It

Often the simplest things are the least obvious! Just give your phone a call. You never know; it might be somewhere close by. If it’s been found by someone friendly, they may answer it and be able to return it to you. Send a text message as well with details of who to contact if it’s found.

Step 2: Lock It & Block It

Hopefully, you already have a screen lock set up on your phone. This should be the first layer of protection to stop someone from accessing your phone. Android and iOS can both lock down your phone using android.com/find and icloud.com, respectively. You can set a message with instructions as to who to contact should your phone be found. Alternatively, simply login to your Fortress web portal to add an additional security layer by locking with your Fortress passcode.

Step 3: Locate It

The same websites also allow you to find your device on a map, assuming you have the feature enabled. Your Fortress web portal also has this facility, but with a more detailed history of where your device has traveled. It can even show you where your phone was when the battery died!

Step 4: Secure It

If you don’t want your data compromised, you can try to remotely lock and wipe your device. This is the last resort, for obvious reasons, but sometimes it’s worthwhile for peace-of-mind. Depending on which service you use, you will have various options of what data can be deleted. Don’t forget that other elements of your online life could also be compromised. It’s worth considering changing any common passwords for online banking, email, and your social accounts.

Step 5: Report It

You need to report a missing device to the police so they can open a file. This may be necessary for insurance claims. It is also recommended to report the situation to your mobile phone provider (carrier). They may be able to block your account and will make a note on your file. Depending on your carrier’s policies, you may not be liable for unauthorized calls or data usage if you have reported it. If you have insurance, you will then need to make a claim.

 

Fortress, Here to Help

If your phone has gone missing, Fortress members have a simple method of dealing with all of this from one place, the Fortress web portal. We simplify the experience of dealing with this annoying and worrying situation. You no longer have to remember which site to go to, where to login, whether you have enabled the “Find My Phone” feature, which of your account passwords to use. With Fortress, you have one place to go, one password to remember, and a simple-to-use portal to help you calmly manage a challenging situation!

Can You Really Use Your Phone For Mobile Payments?

There is no doubt that cell phones are one of the inventions that have changed the way we live our lives forever. Not only do they put information in the palm of the hand, but they also make life far more convenient. One of the most potent innovations is the ability to pay for things without needing your wallet or purse.  Mobile payments are simple and convenient for sure, but is this safe, and can you trust it?

Cash and card have been stagnant in recent years. Contactless payments have been successful in some countries but subject to fraud and limitations for both consumers and retailers. The introduction of phone payments has added both convenience and security. But some people are still wary of using this system, preferring existing ways of paying. Don’t worry, though. It’s actually a great system that can be trusted more than a card.

 

Mobile Payment Basics

So, can a mobile phone REALLY replace your cash or card? Simply, yes. As long as you are using a trusted mobile payment app on your device, everything is excellent. In fact, it is safer than using a card and more convenient (and more hygienic) than using cash.

Credit cards are subject to being lost or stolen. Credit card details can be stolen. If someone steals your card, they would be able to use it easily until you notice and notify your bank. They would need your PIN to buy more expensive items, but contactless is easy. If someone steals your phone, they would still need your passcode, fingerprint, or face to confirm payment. Locking your phone is a sure-fire way of protecting your money.

Compatible phones have special hardware called NFC (Near Field Communications), which talks to the retailer’s payment system. When you wave your phone at the payment terminal, your device confirms that it’s authorized to make a payment on your behalf. It’s very secure and never shares your card details. Those are on your phone and never shared with third parties.

 

Apple and Android Mobile Payments

Apple devices, including the Apple Watch, use Apple Pay. It’s pre-installed and effortless to set up.

iPhone

Apple Wallet Screen

  • Go to Settings.
  • Choose Wallet & Apple Pay.
  • Choose Add Card and follow the instructions.

Apple Watch

  • Go to the Watch
  • Choose the My Watch
  • Select Wallet & Apple Pay to add the same card as your phone.

To make a payment in a retail store, you can use any contactless terminal. Unlock your phone and tap your device on the terminal to pay. You can also use Apple Pay at many online stores and within some apps.

 

Android

Android devices use Google Pay, which is a very similar system to Apple Pay. As per Apple, you can use Google Pay to pay in-store, online, and in some apps.

To set up Google Pay

  • Install the Google Pay app from the Google Play store.
  • Open Google Pay.
  • Follow the setup instructions to add a payment card.

To make a payment in a retail store, you can use any contactless terminal. Simply unlock your device and hold it near the payment terminal and wait for it to register.

On Android devices, you also have the option of Samsung Pay. It works almost identically to Google Pay and works on pretty much any Android phone, not just Samsung phones.

 

Mobile Payments Are Safe and Convenient

Is it too good to be true? Mobile payments really can offer modern convenience with enhanced safety and security. Use trusted apps and make sure you have your passcode, fingerprint, or face lock configured, and you are good to go. Technology really can improve life. Who knows, one day we can leave those purses and wallets behind.

 

To find out more about how Fortress can protect, secure and insure your mobile life, check out our features.

Viruses on Phones – do they really exist?

Viruses on phones, surely they don’t really exist? If you want a short answer, then – not really! However, don’t relax, it’s not really as simple as that!

Viruses are a particular type of problem on computers. They are a program that copies itself when it runs, causing damage to the computer. In fact, they are a subset of a broader category of malicious programs called “Malware” (Malicious Software).

Viruses on Phones, seriously?

Cybercriminals are masters at exploiting weaknesses in computers, and now phones. If you haven’t updated your Operating System recently, if you are using an old browser, or your WiFi is compromised, then they can attack! You may be conned into downloading a dodgy app or asked to click a link in a text or email message. They are always cooking up new methods of tricking people into connecting to these malicious services. If you connect, then that’s when the trouble starts.

We mentioned that viruses are not really common on cellphones. This is really a matter of definition. Viruses are part of a group of software called Malware, which is where you find lots of different types of programs, all designed to be harmful.

In addition to viruses, you may see terms like:

  • Worms
  • Bots & Botnets
  • Trojan Horses
  • Ransomware
  • Adware
  • Malvertising
  • Spyware
  • Stalkerware

All of these are different types of harmful software, and are usually designed to:

  • Cause you disruption by breaking your phone.
  • Steal your sensitive personal information for resale to third parties.
  • Uses your personal information for advertising.
  • Gathers banking or other financial access.
  • Remotely monitors your camera, text, or email communications.

Although Viruses on phones are not a common threat, other forms of Malware are becoming increasingly common. Mainly because personal information is readily accessible on phones, and therefore a valuable target for criminals.

How To Stay Safe Against Malware On Your Cellphone

Viruses on phones are something that will undoubtedly grow as a challenge over time. Follow our guide to help keep safe.

  1. Update Everything! Ensure that you always update your Android or iOS Operating System whenever possible. Also make sure that you update your frequently used apps, including your web browser.
  2. Download Apps from Trusted Sources. Don’t be tempted to download apps that aren’t supplied on the official Apple App Store or Google Play Store. It is a less likely situation on Apple devices, but it is a more common occurrence for Android phones. It’s not foolproof, some malicious apps slip through the net, but it’s an adequate safeguard.
  3. Don’t Click on Unknown Attachments. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know (and trust!), try to avoid clicking on an attachment. If you don’t know the source of an email or are not expecting an attachment, it’s better safe than sorry.
  4. Avoid Public WiFi. It’s tempting to use free, open public WiFi. Unless it’s somewhere you can trust (like a big brand coffee shop), it is a potential route for scammers to install Malware, often as part of the sign-on process. If at all possible, avoid these WiFi services.
  5. Check App Permissions. When you install an app, it will sometimes ask for permission to access your GPS, contacts, camera, or other information. Think about whether the app would typically need that access – does this game really need to access your contacts? Just tread carefully, and you should be fine.
  6. Install Fortress! Of course, we are going to promote our Fortress Memberships. Installing Fortress is an excellent way to install a best-in-breed Malware scanning tool, in partnership with BitDefender, alongside our other protection features. Our suite of tools gives excellent safeguards against Malware and dodgy websites, web threats, and personal data breaches.

 

 

iOS 14 Features, All New or Disappointing?

Apple’s iOS 14 was released in September 2020 and offers many new features. However, are any of them actually useful to the general phone user? IOS 14 Features have been lauded as exciting updates, but are they anything more than window dressing?

What devices are compatible?

iOS updates have been growing in size and complexity over the years, and compatibility is becoming more challenging for older devices. The latest revision of iOS is available to anyone already running iOS 13. If your phone is the iPhone 6S or newer, then you can update to iOS 14. So any of the following devices will be able to grab the latest version:

• iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, and iPhone SE (1st gen)
• iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus
• iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X
• iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR
• iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max
• iPhone SE (2nd gen)

How to Download iOS 14

Most phones will automatically update the Operating System. Most of the time, you can wait overnight, and as-if-by-magic, your phone will be up-to-date with the new OS. However, sometimes the automatic process does not work, and at that point, you will need to update your phone manually. This update can be done either via the phone settings itself or via iTunes on your computer.

Updating To iOS 14 Via The Phone

IOS 14 feature update

1. Backup your phone using iCloud or iTunes on your computer.
2. Plug your phone into a charger.
3. Choose > Settings
4. Choose > General
5. Choose > Software Update
6. Choose > Download and Install
7. [to update now] Choose > Install
8. [to update overnight] Choose > Install Tonight or Remind Me Later

Updating to iOS 14 Via iTunes

1. Plug your phone into your computer using a USB Cable.
2. Open the iTunes application (it may open automatically).
3. Select the phone icon from the top of the iTunes screen
4. Choose > Check for Update
5. iTunes will offer to create a backup of your data and then allow you to Download and Install the update.

 

Updating to iOS 14 on Mac

1. On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or newer, open Finder.
2. On a Mac with macOS 10.14 or earlier, follow the instructions for iTunes above.
3. Plug your phone into your Mac using a USB cable.
4. Select your phone under Locations in Finder.
5. Choose > General or Settings, then choose Check for Update.
6. Choose > Download and Update.
7. If asked, enter your passcode.

 

iOS 14 Features – an Overview

Home Screen Widgets

iOS 14 adds Widgets to the home screen of your phone. These are handy little apps that are data-rich and let you customize your home screen with information such as the clock, weather, stocks, and maps. Widgets can be resized and repositioned to your taste. Once applied, App icons move out of the way automatically to make room.

App Library

IOS 14 Feature App Library

App Library is a new view that allows you to organize all of your apps. Apps are automatically organized in the App Library, so you don’t have to keep all of the icons on your home screen. There is also a new list view that lets you sort applications based on usage and more.

Picture-in-Picture

Your iPhone can now show Picture-in-Picture, so you can carry on watching a video while you are checking your Twitter feed, or chat with a friend while watching a movie.

Siri

For Siri has become more integrated to the whole operating system and appears as small notifications at the top of your phone, rather than taking up the whole screen. It means that Siri is now less intrusive and more akin to other core parts of the OS. As a result, Siri can also understand more and do more, including more accurate translations.

Messages

Messages on iOS 14 have now been upgraded in several ways. Firstly, you can now pin conversations to the top of your app, so those most important to you can always be at the top of your list. Secondly, there are now more styles for your Memoji to allow you to customize your character further. Lastly, Messaging Groups also get an upgrade with inline replies and the ability to @mention a person like other systems.

Maps

Apple Maps now features routes for cyclists (at least in a handful of major cities), giving routes with cycle lanes, quieter roads, and even avoiding steep inclines. If you have an electric vehicle, Maps also shows you charging stations along your route. Finally playing catch-up with other Map apps, it now warns you about traffic cameras while driving.

Apple Car Play

With a compatible car, such as the 2021 BMW 5 Series, you are now able to unlock and start your car through your phone. As a result, car keys are one less thing to remember on the way out of the house!

IOS 14 Feature App Clips

App Clips

App Clips is a new feature that allows you to easily access applications quickly without having to download the full version from the Apple App Store. So, you can try new apps easily on the go without committing to the complete download.

Privacy

Apple has always promoted their focus on Privacy and protecting customer data. For iOS 14 they have improved this even further by requiring all apps to obtain permission before tracking you, for instance. You will also be able to share your approximate location, rather than your exact location for certain apps, and find out more about an app’s use of your camera and microphone. Lastly, the Safari web browser also improves by allowing you to see any ad trackers that are active when you browse the web.

Accessibility

Finally, hearing-impaired users will see a useful feature where you can set up the iPhone to listen out for specific sounds such as a fire alarm or warning siren. So, if the phone hears the noise, it will notify the user.

 

Fortress is fully compatible with IOS14 and available to download from the Appstore.

Home Working Enabled by Mobile Technology

Home Working is the New Norm

The way we work, and the way we communicate has changed a lot over the past 6 months. This change is not just temporary! Technology that once was a “nice to have” is now a “must have”. Staying in touch is more important than ever when friends, family and work colleagues are remote from one another. Most countries are practising home working to help people continue to work safely. Using your phone is now the primary way of communicating.

Cellphone usage has increased by 70%

Not many people will be surprised to hear that we are using our phones more regularly. We are also using them for longer. People are not spending as much time in the office. Neither are they able to visit loved ones. Voice calls and 3G/4G data usage has now increased a lot. So has newer technology such as Wi-Fi calling (making and receiving calls anywhere you have Wi-Fi). Let’s just hope your phone is protected from anything bad happening!

Internet usage has increased by 70%

Millions of people are going online for entertainment and work. So it’s not surprising that internet traffic has increased a lot. With things like streaming video services and video calls, the internet has never been so stressed.

Contactless payments are more common

No longer the domain of the techies, contactless payments made using apps like Apple Pay and Android Pay are being used more often. So cash is becoming less important. More recently it has been seen as unsanitary and unnecessary when you can use your phone as a digital wallet with contactless payments.

Mobile video chats are up by 75%

We’ve all seen the headlines about Zoom meetings going awry. Video technology has now become the main way for families and businesses to communicate. Using Zoom, Facebook, Teams, Skype, or Facetime, there has been big growth in people using video to talk to those around them. Firstly, it’s safe. Secondly, it’s pretty easy to use. Mostly, it gives a far more human connection.

Home Working is here to stay

Technology has enabled people to change the way they work overnight. Using a smartphone and a laptop, millions of people worldwide have shifted from daily commuters to homeworkers. It’s happened with zero notice. Everyone has adapted rapidly and without a long settling-in period. It’s been a necessity, and it has proven to companies everywhere that it’s possible. It’s also shown that team members are capable of doing it and are able to feel some benefit. Business is also seriously considering the overall benefits to cost, staff welfare and more. It’s very likely to stick and technology is the reason it can.

Clean Your Phone & Tablet Safely – COVID-19 & Your Phone

Here at Fortress HQ, we understand that your phone is what keeps you connected and safe. It’s one of the main reasons why we created Fortress in the first place.   Your phone is even more important now, as the world tries to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing.  Humans are social creatures. We need to interact and stay connected and even if we can’t be with our family, friends and loved ones. We use our smartphones and tablets to keep in touch in many ways: call, video chat, IM etc.  However, this also means we are touching our tech… a lot. Clean your hands, now clean your phone!

Even during normal times, the majority of Americans, on average, check their phones 160 times a day — once every 9 minutes!!  As caring, concerned and health conscious citizens we’re all remembering to wash our hands and disinfect surfaces around the house and workplace.  However it is important to remember to disinfect your tech, too.  Especially considering that scientific studies show that the virus can remain infectious on objects, such as your phone, for days.  We have put together 9 tips and tricks on how to clean your smartphone or tablet to help prevent the spread of germs and viruses.

How Should I Clean my Smartphone or Tablet?

  1. Turn your smartphone or tablet off before cleaning.
  2. If you have a protective case on your device, please remember to remove the case before starting to clean your phone.
  3. Use a microfiber cloth with a safe cleaning solution (suggested: 50/50 water and alcohol).
  4. Spray/Moisten the cloth, not the device.
  5. Try and avoid using disinfectant wipes.  Depending on the ingredients they could damage the external coating or the internal makeup of the device.
  6. If you have a protective case wipe down the case as well as the device and remember to clean all of the case’s openings for the headphone jack, camera, buttons and charging port.
  7. Allow the device and the case you’ve cleaned to air dry.
  8. For the more adventurous you can try using a UV sanitizing device.  Ultraviolet light can kill 99.9% of germs in about 10 minutes.  Some models on the market can simultaneously charge the phone while they clean it.
  9. Make sure you wash your hands for 20 seconds using soap and water once you’re done cleaning your device.

How Often Should I Clean my Phone or Tablet?

The easy answer is clean your tech regularly.

How often is regularly? Well, that depends. Where do you use your device? If you’re like one of the 73.4% of the Americans surveyed that admitted to using their phone when on the toilet you should wipe it down more often than someone who does not.  If you tend to eat while scrolling through your device, a daily wipe down with a microfiber cloth would be a good idea.

A simple solution would be to wash your hands before you eat and not touch your device during meals. However, if that’s not an option for you, the more you clean it, the better.

We’re Here to Help You.

Every Fortress protection tier provides access Assist Features which are specifically designed to help negotiate the complicated and sometime tricky to understand tech world.  In addition our Assist Team are group of dedicated experts that are just a click or call away and are available to help you, your kids and your parents – no matter where they live.

Fortress

Fortress and the Fortress logo are trademarks of Fortress Global Group Limited, registered in the U.S.A., U.K. and E.U.

Android, Google and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc.

Apple, the Apple logo, and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Wireless Device Insurance is provided through Dimension Insurance Agency Inc, 5500 Frantz Road, Suite 120, Dublin, OH 43017, NPN number 1875657 and is underwritten by State National Insurance Company, 1900 L. Don Dodson Drive, Bedford, Texas 76021.  The insurance product may not be available in all states. This communication contains product summaries only.  Coverage is subject to the language of the policies as actually issued. For more information about this insurance please click here. Please note that Fortress is not a licensed insurance producer or underwriting company.

© 2021 Fortress Global, Inc. All rights reserved.

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